As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker hops aboard the Republican clown
car bus, it’s time to take a look at what his policies have really done for his home state. Wisconsin is a microcosm of what a Walker presidency would be like, and the numbers aren’t looking good. Wisconsin now has the shame of being the state with the most rapidly shrinking middle class; median incomes have plummeted by a jaw-dropping 14.7% since the year 2000. The US Census indicates that during Walker’s rule, the population considered “middle class” by 5.7%- also the biggest decline in the nation.
On top of that, Walker’s recent budget just cut $250 million from the University of Wisconsin’s budget, delayed any kind of improvement to the state’s crumbling highway infrastructure, gave free rein to predatory pay-day lenders- allowing them to sell insurance and offer financial advice to the very people they are extorting money out of. It also cut millions in grants to conservation groups attempting to protect public lands from the rapacious hunger of corporate profits, and instituted drug tests for food stamp recipients. Walker claims it is a budget for the taxpayers, but state legislator Peter Barca sees it differently: “We think it’s much more of a campaign document for the far right wing.”
Indeed, Walker has been very proud of his “successes” in ramming through a Koch Brother-approved agenda that crushed unions and public bargaining, efforts to privatize public schools, give millions in tax breaks to the rich and to huge corporations. They may be well and pleased with his efforts, but it has dealt grievous wounds to the state’s middle class and the working families of Wisconsin. He has ruined job creation in Wisconsin, falling far short of his campaign pledge to create 250,000 in his first term- barely achieving 129,000 while the liberal high-tax policies of neighboring Minnesota have made them the #1 state in the country for doing business.
We can only expect more of the same should he ever reach the White House- but on a national scale. The Koch Brothers are intending to spend absurd amounts of dark money to make sure they get their way. America must make the right decision if we don’t want to lose the incredible progress we’ve made over the past eight years.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.